Birdy headed to her very first show of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and what better way to get started than with some laughs?
DISCLAIMER: Although Edinburgh Reviews are supporting PBH’s Free Fringe with an ad in the ‘wee blue book’, we are reviewing shows from both the Laughing Horse and PBH’s Free Fringe, all of which will be reviewed fairly and without bias.
I did my best to avoid the rain on my way to Dropkick Murphys on this, the first day of the Edinburgh Fringe (3rd August) – but I still arrived ever-so-slightly damp. It’s a good venue, though, and I was ready for some much-needed laughs after the day I’d had.
With the intention of easing myself in gently to the Edinburgh Fringe this year, I thought Aaaargh! It’s the Monster Stand-Up Show was the perfect way to start as I meant to go on.
The show is hosted by award-winning Kirsty Munro and promises an hour of the tastiest comedians – of all levels – featured at the Fringe this year. And for this show, with so many comedians eager to find their Fringe legs, we got treated to SIX ACTS!!! Which, I gathered was slightly more than usual, and a great taster of things to come.
NOTE: Since this is the first real day of Fringe, and a lot of the acts are just getting warmed up, this show really counts as a preview, and I’ll treat it as such.
Kirsty Munro was a warm host (not temperature-wise, I mean figuratively), and from when she came to the stage, she immediately made the room feel at ease.
She had a bit of banter with the audience, boasted about how she’d just gotten engaged (congo rats!) and asked people how long they’d been together (which kind of became a theme as we later got to hear about most people’s relationships).
Off to a good start, and Kirsty kept the good vibes going as she introduced each act.
Got to admit, I didn’t know what to expect from Eric, but he was the first act of the show and he got a friendly welcome. He then started by reassuring the audience that if he’s really bad, it’ll be okay because there’s lots of people that love him. And even if it goes well, what’s the point, really.
It’s a very awkward, weird sort of humour from Eric, and got the show off to an interesting start – but at the same time, you’re sitting there thinking ‘y’know, he’s actually not wrong’.
Other highlights included that junk food like McDonald’s will make you die quicker, so you’ll be sad for less time, and that he has sex around five times per each Prime Minister.
For those interested, Eric’s own show is called Eric Rushton: Not That Deep, and is on at 3:45pm at Cabaret Voltaire.
Next up, it’s 2015 Jewish Comedian of the Year Philip Simon! It’s not a difficult task to be more upbeat than Eric, and he manages it no problem. More banter with the audience, much of it family talk and kids-related.
It was a perfectly pleasant few minutes of set, but none of it really stuck with me or made me laugh that much. However, as we only had such a brief time with each act, that didn’t put me off the possibility of seeing Philip’s shows later in the month,
Hannah really brought the energy to the stage, with some relatable humour surrounding the phrase ‘bless ‘im’ (or her) and how you can put just about anything ahead of that phrase and get away with it.
She also pointed out how Dunelm is the new Glasto when you reach our age, and some real truths about being in a relationship! This was a really fun set, and seeing that she and Tal Davies (who’ll I’ll get to in a bit) are on the same show makes me really want to take the time to go and see it.
You can see Hannah and Tal Davies‘ show, Tal Davies and Hannah Weetman: Fear and Self-Loathing in Las Iguanas, at the City Cafe at 10:40am.
Tiziano La Bella
I found Tiziano a real breath of fresh air, made some jokes about his girlfriend and BJs (one of the dirtiest jokes of the show, so it was a fairly tame show, really!). I liked his vibe quite a lot overall, and he said he looked a bit like Jesus – if Jesus existed. And, I suppose, if Jesus also had a man bun, maybe he would!
He asked if anyone had been to Amsterdam, and I put my hand up. Explained it was a long time ago – which I think helped him make the point that no-one can remember what happens in Amsterdam, and why it’s not the best for taking in culture!
His show is called BEComedy Presents: NO LIMITS on at 11:30pm at The Counting House and I believe it features a range of comics pushing boundaries.
Tal’s set was the one I laughed the most at, and she immediately got my attention by talking about how she comes from an eccentric family and once rescued a stick insect – the story just gets funnier from there, with talk about how a stick insect might be cremated when the times comes!
I found Tal to be really relatable, hilarious and utterly fabulous – and it was her set that really convinced me that I should go and see her and Hannah’s show (mentioned above) at the City Cafe.
Jay was the second comedian Jesus of the show, and my second favourite act. He had me laughing by asking the older women in the audience their age and not taking their cue to stop asking, making a fart joke that didn’t land, and how old you should be at a rave.
It was one of those sets where you really had to be there. Jay was very charming and had a really lovely, light vibe, which helped when he got to the topic of suicide (a bit of an edgy one!). What really sold it to me was the Tory joke at the end.
You can see Jay at Jay Handley – The White Jesus Chronicles via PBH’s Free Fringe at the Banshee Labyrinth.
The Jesus face-off
At the end of the show, we of course had to have a showdown between the two Jesuses, which involved a bit of trickery with a glass of water and a glass of wine being switched around. Jay Handley still gets my vote as the overall winner, as cheating was clearly involved here!
I really enjoyed this show, overall the vibe was good, and taster shows like these are a great way for comedians to ease into the Fringe and test our their materials. It was Day 1, so it’s understandable they’re just getting warmed up for better things to come, and I might go and see some of their shows throughout the month!